Arizona Bible Week
Decree Blocked
by Patrick Graham
Associated Press Writer

November 20, 1998

Phoenix, Arizona -- A federal judge on Friday blocked a state proclamation to observe Bible Week, calling it unconstitutional. "On the face of this document, it certainly has the (indication) of being religion and purposely not secular," said U.S. District Judge Roslyn O. Silver, who issued a temporary restraining order.

Gov. Jane Hull said her proclamation is not an attempt to mandate a state religion but rather to encourage Christians to study the teachings of their religion. She said she will fight the ruling against Bible Week, which was to begin Sunday.

"The governor has always said the proclamation is constitutional," said Francie Noyes, the governor's spokeswoman. "We will go in and make our case."

Silver said both sides can come back next month to further argue the case. No new court date was set. Silver is expected at that time to decide whether to issue a permanent injunction.

Eleanor Eisenberg, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union Arizona chapter, praised the ruling.

"In the state of Arizona anyone who chooses on his or her own to read and contemplate the Bible this week is free to do so, but there is no longer any hint of compulsion by the state," she said.

The ACLU chapter filed suit Thursday against the governor, contending the proclamation is an unconstitutional offense against non-Christians and nonbelievers.

Noyes said the proclamation was issued at the request of the National Bible Association, a New York-based group that has celebrated the week since 1941.

On Monday, the ACLU persuaded Silver to issue a restraining order preventing the Phoenix suburb of Gilbert from proclaiming its Bible Week.

© Copyright 1998 The Associated Press

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Birth of Girl Announced

Atheist Evolution Rollason
by Chuck Shepherd
sources: Denver Post, AP

September 8, 1994

In York, Pennsylvania, Atheist Evolution Rollason, a girl, was born -- named because her parents believe that God played no role in her creation.

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Where Church Equals State

Female Physicians Cannot
Avoid Islamic Taboo
by Chuck Shepherd
source: Sioux Falls Argus Leader

August 12, 1994

The government of the Malaysian state of Perlis announced it would crack down on conservative female Muslim physicians who use pencils or pens or long objects to examine male patients. Many Muslims believe it is a sin if a woman touches a man other than her husband.

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Church Hosts Divorce
Ceremony for Minister
by Chuck Shepherd
source: San Francisco Chronicle, Reuters

September 17, 1994

In Decatur, Georgia, Adei Grenpastures-Doty and Tim Doty appeared at the First Christian Church five years after their marriage -- to get a divorce in a ceremony presided over by the minister who married them. The former Mrs. Doty is a minister, herself; Mr. Doty is working on a master's degree in divinity. Scripture readings and prayers of thanksgiving and forgiveness highlighted the ceremony.

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Drunken Church Member
Crashes Into Church
by Chuck Shepherd
source: Rock Island Argus

August 19, 1994

Nancy Bell, 46, was arrested on a DUI charge in East Moline, Illinois. Bell, who wanted to become a member of the Zion Lutheran Church and was serving a probationary period while members evaluated her application, accidentally crashed into the church at 1:15 a.m.

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Where Church Equals State

Bus Segregation in Iran
Prevents 3.7 Million
Sins Every Day
by Chuck Shepherd
source: Orlando Sentinel

August 29, 1995

A municipal official in Tehran announced that seating and standing room on its minibuses would be gender-segregated, as on Iran's other buses. He reasoned that "if 10 men brush against [the 370,000 female daily riders], 3.7 million accountable sins are committed every day."

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Where Church Equals State

Iranian Dress Code
Hampers Olympic Chances
by Chuck Shepherd
source: Guardian Weekly

November 12, 1996

Britain's Guardian Weekly reported that, even though Iranian dress codes prohibit the country's fielding women's Olympic teams for swimming, track and field, and basketball, they will have a women's kayaking team. However, the coach acknowledged that the team members' robes and veils add up to 10 seconds to their time over a 550-yard course.

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Where Church Equals State

Iranian Cross-Dresser
Gets 20 Lashes
by Chuck Shepherd
source: St. Louis Post Dispatch, AP

October 30, 1995

An unidentified, 31-year-old man was sentenced to 20 lashes in Tehran after a prank backfired. He had bet his father about $30 that he could dress in robe and veils and ride unnoticed in the women's section of a segregated municipal bus, but he was detected because he failed to wear women's shoes underneath the robe.

A court ruled the prank was "obscene."

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Where Church Equals State

Islamic Law: Gender
Segregation in Queues
by Chuck Shepherd
source: Las Vegas Review-Journal, AP

January 8, 1996

The municipal council of Kota Bahru in northeastern Malaysia, a city controlled by an Islamic party, announced that it would require citizens who deal with the government, such as those who line up to make license and utility payments, to be segregated by gender, to prohibit excessive mingling.

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Militants Oppose
Women's Cycling,
Attack Center Director
by Chuck Shepherd
source: Globe & Mail, AP

May 3, 1996

Militant Muslims attacked the director of the Chitgar sports center outside Tehran and ransacked the grounds in protest of the center's policy of allowing women to ride bicycles on the premises.

The militants believe women should not cycle at all in public because it is "provocative."

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Militants Oppose
Children's Dance Scene,
Wreck Theater
by Chuck Shepherd
source: Edmonton Journal, AP

May 7, 1996

About 60 Muslim activists wrecked a Tehran theater that was showing an Iranian film, "Indian Souvenir," that featured a four-minute scene of little girls dancing at a wedding.

The militants believe females should dance only in the company of females.

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Where Church Equals State

Victim Follows Islamic
Law: Marries Rapist
by Chuck Shepherd
source: Reuters

February 8, 1996

Ms. Hind Abderrahim Mohamed, 17, was recently raped by a stranger on the street in Cairo, Egypt. Under the circumstances, the man has one chance of avoiding prison: Under Egyptian law, he cannot be punished if the victim agrees to marry him, so she did.

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Academy Bars Pregnant
Graduates; Abortions Okay
by Chuck Shepherd
source: USA Today

May 29, 1996

Two girls at the Mount St. Mary Academy in Little Rock, Arkansas, were not permitted at their graduation ceremony in May because of a school ruling barring pregnant students.

Girls who have had abortions are not barred from the ceremony.

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Family Values:
She Felt Guilty

Teenaged Christian
Abstinence Counselor
Has Love Child
by Chuck Shepherd

April, 1996

A devoutly Christian abstinence counselor and high school senior, Danyale Andersen, 18, of Redmond, Oregon, gave birth to the baby of a former, short-term boyfriend. She said she felt guilty about it but still believes in abstinence.

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"Who can ignore a miracle?"

Gullible Journalist
Eased Out Of Job
by Chuck Shepherd
source: Burlington Spectator (Ontario)

June 9, 1996

Editor Martha Jette was eased out of her job after 10 years at the Ontario weekly Dundas Review after a dispute with the publisher. She had run a story accepting the claim of local singer "Danny Boy," who had convinced her that he is the reincarnation of Jesse Garon Presley, Elvis's stillborn twin, and that he was given life in order to continue Elvis's gospel work. Said Jette, "Who can ignore a miracle?"

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Undesirable Christian Sect

Klan Leader Pays High
Robe Cleaning Bills
by Chuck Shepherd
source: The New Yorker

March, 1996

Kentucky Ku Klux Klan leader and grandmother Velma Seats, asked by a New Yorker writer for a story why she wasn't wearing her robe that day:

"We've had a lot of events lately," she said. "The cleaning bills will kill you."

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Less Harsh Than
Biblical Times (Acts 5:1-11)

Church Secretary
Sentenced for
by Chuck Shepherd
source: The Daily Dunklin Democrat (Kennett, Missouri), AP

May 17, 1996

In Ottawa, Ohio, church secretary Linda Siefer was sentenced to two years in prison for a scheme in which she systematically removed all twenty-dollar bills from the collection plates at St. Michael's Catholic Church in Kalida, Ohio, over a four-year period.

Ms. Siefer and her husband lived well above their combined $32,000 income, but the scheme did not come to light until a bank employee thought it odd that there were never any twenty-dollar bills in the church's deposits.

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Unravel your re-election
prospects today!

Florida Pol "Cured"
by Small UFO Disk
by Chuck Shepherd

September 1996

Lynne Plaskett, 46, running for re-election as a county councilwoman in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, said on TV's "Maury Povich Show" that she was cured of the often-fatal T-cell lymphoma 20 years ago by a small UFO disk that hovered over her bed and scanned her body before disappearing.

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New Age
(rhymes with "sewage")

Woman "In Transition"
Plucked from Ocean
by Chuck Shepherd

September, 1996

An unidentified woman who refused to give her name was plucked from the Atlantic Ocean, about two miles out, near Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, dressed in street clothes. She told one of the rescuers, "I'm fine, my family is here," and said she had been eating seaweed for the three days she had been in the water. She said she was "in transition," that she had just come up to get some air. She was taken to Memorial Regional Hospital.

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Tips for Teens

Beauty Queen
Slaughters Goat
for Success
by Chuck Shepherd

September, 1996

Peggy-Sue Khumalo, 23, the recently-crowned Miss South Africa, said she would soon sacrifice a goat to her ancestors in gratitude for her success.

She also said that if she won the Miss World title in India in November, she would step up her spiritual gratitude to slaughter a cow and 10 oxen.

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The Twelve Steps
-- on Steroids

Passenger's 'Support Snake'
Frightens Young Child
by Chuck Shepherd

August, 1996

The parents of Alexandra Taylor, 5, received an undisclosed settlement from Continental Airlines because the airline permitted another customer to bring a six-foot-long python into the cabin of a 1994 flight, which allegedly caused Alexandra to have severe nightmares.

The snake's owner had brought along her companion as a "support snake" prescribed by her therapist to help her overcome the trauma of being sexually harassed by a professor.

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Christian Inmate
Wants Male Guards
by Chuck Shepherd

November, 1996

A federal appeals court turned down Albert Johnson's lawsuit against the Cook County (Illinois) Jail to reassign female guards away from the showers and toilet areas, saying their presence was "humiliating" to his religious belief in "Christian modesty."

A dissenting opinion agreed with Johnson that permitting the monitoring by females was "cruel and unusual" punishment.

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